Poem for Valentine’s Day

Stumbling

I should have outgrown cursing
digital alarm clocks
stabbing me in dark warm sleep
next to you, waking me to rise
into a cold blackness
of hardwood under my feet.

It is a dance with dread, this search
by touch through passion’s shed
clothes for just anything to cover
myself on the January stumble
to the white tiled bathroom floor.

Water steams and bounces off this skin
that only minutes before touched yours
and the feel of you burns through water
into my brain where it will stay all day
never letting fully go,

while I scrub then dry then shave then dress
and wrap a noose around my neck
and before slipping into my coat, you
slip around me and softly kiss my throat

and sacred unsacred rituals
of doing the job mean nothing
as I stare at the clock
counting its ticks and tocks
as the hour’s component parts
reassemble into one whole longing
that never goes away.

© 1997, 2008 by Shawn Pavey. All rights reserved.

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